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Rugby - 25. March 2011.

England's Clare Daniels named on IRB's first Women's Referee Panel

The Somerset-based referee is one of eight named today following a review
of performances at the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup.

She is joined on the panel by Sarah Corrigan (Australia), Joyce Henry and
Sherry Trumbull (Canada), Sylvie Bros (France), Gabriel Lee (Hong Kong),
Nicky Inwood (New Zealand) and Dana Teagarden (USA).

Daniels, from Street, started refereeing in 2001 and has appeared at three
Women's Rugby World Cups, the IRB Sevens World Cup and in the National
Leagues. She was in the middle for the Scotland v Ireland and
France v Wales matches in this season's Women's RBS 6 Nations
Championship.

She works for the Rugby Football Union as its Southern Region Referee
Development Manager, responsible for recruiting and developing officials in
Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and
Wiltshire.

"It means a lot to be recognised as one of the top female referees in
the world," said Daniels, who is in Berlin this weekend for the Under
18 international between Germany and Ireland.

"What's happening shows how far women's officiating has come
globally and hopefully this will take it to another level. It will give us
another level of competition to aim for so we'll all have to raise our
game and work even harder to get the best appointments."

Daniels will be supported by the IRB development pathway that will
standardise and structure performance management and preparations ahead of
Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013, Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 and the
Rugby Sevens tournaments at the 2016 Olympic Games.

She will have regular opportunities to officiate international men’s
and women’s matches as well as access to centralised IRB fitness,
performance analysis and mentoring programmes that promote consistency and
best practice, mirroring the system used for her male counterparts on the
IRB High Performance Referee Panel.

Daniels added: "The quality of matches available is fantastic and
having something like the Olympics in 2016 [in Rio, where sevens makes its
first appearance] is a massive motivator for anyone coming into
officiating."

The IRB's Referee Development Consultant Bernd Gabbei will manage the
programme, working closely with IRB Referee Manager Paddy O'Brien to
develop and implement structured performance programmes specifically
targeted at raising women’s officiating standards globally.

"The IRB is committed to the growth and development of Women's
Rugby worldwide through our strategic plan and there are now more women and
girls participating in the sport than ever before," said IRB Chairman
Bernard Lapasset.

"The introduction of a dedicated female referee Panel and performance
management structure is a milestone for the Women's Game and will
provide the opportunity and the environment for the world’s best to
realise their potential, while ensuring that consistency of performance is
of paramount importance."

IRB Women's Development Manager Susan Carty added: "This is a
major development for the Women's Game, which is continuing to go from
strength to strength worldwide. Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 set new
standards for elite Women's Rugby on and off the field and today's
announcement further underlines our commitment to increasing global
standards."

Gabbei said: "I am very excited about this programme, which is the
first of its kind. Our Member Unions have been extremely supportive and all
eight referees have great potential. We hope that this process will not just
enhance standards and promote consistency, but provide a pathway for more up
and coming referees to reach the highest levels."

Several members of the Panel officiated during the recent RBS Women’s
Six Nations, with Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 Final referee Sarah
Corrigan taking charge of Ireland v England last weekend, while Joyce Henry
will take charge of the Bahamas v Bermuda men's international in April.

The Panel will also benefit from access to existing IRB training and
education programmes, including the Talent Optimisation Programme run at
Stellenbosch University in South Africa and cross-Region exchanges.
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